You know it's going to be a bad day when you've misplaced your best diamond jewelry and your toddler says he "flushed Mommy's pretties."
That's the story of British Columbia resident Dani Jacobsen, whose two-year-old son, Cohen, scooped up his mom's engagement ring, wedding band, diamond earrings, diamond pendant and diamond necklace and flushed them down the toilet as she was preparing his bath.
Cohen was going through his "flushing" stage, and only one day earlier he tried to flush a whole apple down the commode.
Dani had removed her precious keepsakes in preparation of giving her son a bath, but when bath time was over, her jewelry was out of site. She and her husband, David, searched the house, but to no avail.
Finally, they asked Cohen if he had seen Mommy's "pretties."
Cohen took his mom's hand, led her to the toilet and repeated the phrase, "flushed Mommy's pretties."
Dani's husband, an underground pipe layer by trade, removed the toilet and even crawled under the house to take apart the pipes leading from the toilet.
“He had to go on his back," Dani told the Salmon Arm Observer. "He spent four or five hours under the house, taking one pipe out at a time, looking with a flashlight and having to glue it back together.”
When that effort failed, the couple called in the professionals at Reliable Septic Services. Co-owner Jacob Starnyski and David put on their Hazmat suits and waded waist deep in the stinky septic tank. After hours of pumping, screening and sifting, the jewelry still could not be found.
That was 2013, and Dani was certain that her engagement ring and other diamond jewelry were gone forever.
She was particularly fond of the Journey Diamond Pendant, a gift from her husband when they were going through some difficult emotional times.
“There are six little diamonds going down from biggest to smallest – it signifies the journey of life," she told the Salmon Arm Observer. "It just gutted me, thinking about losing that… I was horrified that was gone.”
But, recently, as the couple was preparing to sell their house, they decided to give the search one more shot.
Again, Starnyski found himself in the now-familiar mucky septic tank, and once again he would pump out the waste while screening and sifting.
"Once I got to the bottom, I took my time a little more, and lo and behold there was the ring," Starnyski told CBC News.
Wrapped around the engagement ring was Dani's cherished Journey Diamond Pendant. Later, he also found the diamond necklace.
Although the wedding band and diamond earrings remain missing, Dani was still overwhelmed by the success of the stinky expedition.
"My heart just burst with joy," Dani said. “I had tears in my eyes… I kept thanking him over and over again.”
Dani and her family had already moved 330 miles away to their new town of Nanaimo when the jewelry was found, so her parents, Donna and Doug Howard, stood in to accept the recovered jewelry from Starnyski on their daughter's behalf.
Credits: Jewelry shot and group shot courtesy of Dani Jacobsen. Jacob Starnyski shot via Facebook/reliablesepticservicesinc.